Mad About . . .

Shopping (and filming) with eBay

7th November 2017

Earlier this summer, shortly before I filmed the house tour with The Pool which I linked to yesterday, I made a little video with eBay talking about my finds and what I have found there. It was great fun and I think it’s a pretty cool film – you can see it below or go to their facebook page. * Watch out for Her Imperial Highness Princess Enid making an appearance.

vintage art deco chairs from ebay

Do you ever shop on eBay? I have to say I have found a few stonkingly good bargains there. The new library chairs in the picture above (which came after the filming) were an eBay find. They are vintage 1930s chairs by a Czech designer called Jindrich Halabala.  I first saw them in Erica Davies‘ house;  she bought a pair of dilapidated ones on the site for about £400 and had them reupholstered in this fabulous leaf print below.

vintage jindrich halabala armchairs image by Erica Davies

vintage jindrich halabala armchairs image by Erica Davies 

Then I saw that Professor Green bought a pair from a shop in east London called Pure White Lines – we follow each other on twitter and instagram if you’re wondering why I knew that – and so this designer was starting to look like a thing. I looked at the shop above and saw they had lots of them but they were £750 each and that was a little too much. But by this time I had discovered the name of the designer – Jindrich Halabala. A Czech who believed in functional and affordable furniture and who was the chief designer at United Arts and Crafts Manufacture in Brno, he pioneered the industrial manufacture of furniture during the 1930s. HIs work is becoming increasingly sought after now and you can pay a fortune for his chairs (note mine are slightly different from Erica’s) on 1st Dibs but you can still find them on eBay if you hunt about.

Which I did. And I found a pair of newly reupholstered ones being sold by a lovely Hungarian woman who had bought four, upholstered them all and decided to sell two of them on. I picked up the pair for £750. I KNOW.

KWS kitchen shot by Paul Craig

stools from ebay KWS kitchen shot by Paul Craig

I also bought my kitchen stools from there for £60 and a clock for the kitchen by Dieter Rams for Braun – you can see that one in the clip below. So obviously as I have just made an advert for them I would say that eBay is great but you know what? I think it is. I haven’t even mentioned the vintage Marni handbag that found its way into my cart last month.

*The link to mine is due to go live today if it hasn’t already. In the meantime there are a couple of other films in the series by the chef Isaac Carew and fashion blogger Lucy Williams







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  • Amanda Bottaro 7th November 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I couldn’t agree more about Ebay – I have bought some amazing things, including a pair cocktail chairs from the 1950s and a beautifully foxed French 19th century mirror. Actually I still haven’t had the cocktail chairs reupholstered so if you happen to know of a good upholsterer in North London then please let me know!

  • harriet smith 7th November 2017 at 10:12 am

    Hi Kate, another grand post – thank you! Obviously I’m in good company as I love ebay – from the limed Victorian pine dining table that no-one else bid on (£100) to a chicken-wire fronted French cabinet that I bought for £200 when I absolutely knew 1oo percent that I was moving house so yes it was completely sensible to have it shipped down from Glasgow where it then spent 18 months in pieces in my tiny cottage’s sitting room; Ercol has proved a real steal too, from the Butterfly chairs to a daybed newly upholstered in grey wool. Stennett-Willson glass candlesticks are another obsession on there. And then there were those Jigsaw pink ruched boots for £7 … I’ll stop there as this is getting a bit shameful …

    • Flora 11th November 2017 at 8:57 pm

      loving you!

  • Duncan Strong 7th November 2017 at 10:02 am

    eBay is the place to go! A set of 4 Eeno Aarnio chairs for £140 including delivery? I am currently fitting out the kitchen showroom with a 70s theme, so lots of space age plastic kitchen appliances have been sourced to dress it up a bit. A good tip is to enter the search term in a few European languages – eBay will then show those items that the sellers are happy to ship to the UK. Its easy to get carried away though – perhaps my collection of Olivetti typewriters was taking the eBay thing a bit far……

  • Anne Brown 7th November 2017 at 9:31 am

    I love eBay too! And charity shops and boot fairs. These days I rarely go ‘proper’ shopping /buying at all apart from browsing to get ideas, even my perfume is vintage! One of my favourite eBay purchases is a much battered leather armchair. The seller said that his grandfather had told him that he remembered his grandfather sitting in it on one of his home visits during the First World War.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 7th November 2017 at 9:44 am

      What a wonderful story. It’s so lovely when you can find out the history of the piece you are buying.

  • Emily Mathieson 7th November 2017 at 9:10 am

    Love eBay. Practically the whole house is from there, even the kitchen sink! Not sure how to reply to Natasha directly, but might be worth seeing if Shiply operate into Ireland. I’ve found it really opens up the doors to what you can access. And defo means more bargains.

    • Ursula Money 17th November 2017 at 9:34 am

      Thank you so much for that Shiply tip, Emily! Definitely opens up new doors for me in Spain. When I visit family I go with a practically empty suitcase so as to return with the contents of the steady stream of parcels which have been arriving at some sibling’s home over the previous weeks, but that doesn’t work for the coveted LC4 chaise longue!

  • Natasha 7th November 2017 at 7:45 am

    I completely agree that there are wonderful bargains on eBay and spend hours trawling through the site BUT as a resident in Ireland find it so frustrating because the items can’t/ won’t be shipped to us. Unless I regularly travel over in the ferry with a car/ van, many of the finds are just not an option.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 7th November 2017 at 9:44 am

      Natasha – can you read Emily’s comment about Shiply – that might help….

    • Shiply 7th November 2017 at 10:41 am

      Hi Natasha this is Shiply. Give us a go – quotes are free so you can see what it costs before committing. We do lots of furniture moves and are ebay compatible. Happy shopping!

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